Using trap crops for control of Acalymma vittatum (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae) reduces insecticide use in butternut squash.
ABSTRACT Striped cucumber beetle, Acalymma vittatum F., is the primary insect pest of cucurbit crops in the northeastern United States. Adult beetles colonize squash crops from field borders, causing feeding damage at the seedling stage and transmitting bacterial wilt Erwinia tracheiphila Hauben et al. 1999. Conventional control methods rely on insecticide applications to the entire field, but surrounding main crops with a more attractive perimeter could reduce reliance on insecticides. A. cittatum shows a marked preference for Blue Hubbard squash (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) over butternut squash (C. moschata Poir). Given this preference, Blue Hubbard squash has the potential to be an effective perimeter trap crop. We evaluated this system in commercial butternut fields in 2003 and 2004, comparing fields using perimeter trap cropping with Blue Hubbard to conventionally managed fields. In 2003, we used a foliar insecticide to control beetles in the trap crop borders, and in 2004, we compared systemic and foliar insecticide treatments for the trap crop borders. We found that using a trap crop system reduced or eliminated the need to spray the main crop area, reducing insecticide use by up to 94% compared with conventional control methods, with no increase in herbivory or beetle numbers. We surveyed the growers who participated in these experiments and found a high level of satisfaction with the effectiveness and simplicity of the system. These results suggest that this method of pest control is both effective and simple enough in its implementation to have high potential for adoption among growers.
Article: Comparison of Perimeter Trap Crop Varieties: Effects on Herbivory, Pollination, and Yield in Butternut Squash[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Perimeter trap cropping (PTC) is a method of integrated pest management (IPM) in which the main crop is surrounded with a perimeter trap crop that is more attractive to pests. Blue Hubbard (Cucurbita maxima Duch.) is a highly effective trap crop for butternut squash (C. moschata Duch. ex Poir) attacked by striped cucumber beetles (Acalymma vittatum Fabricius), but its limited marketability may reduce adoption of PTC by growers. Research comparing border crop varieties is necessary to provide options for growers. Furthermore, pollinators are critical for cucurbit yield, and the effect of PTC on pollination to main crops is unknown. We examined the effect of five border treatments on herbivory, pollination, and yield in butternut squash and manipulated herbivory and pollination to compare their importance for main crop yield. Blue Hubbard, buttercup squash (C. maxima Duch.), and zucchini (C. pepo L.) were equally attractive to cucumber beetles. Border treatments did not affect butternut leaf damage, but butternut flowers had the fewest beetles when surrounded by Blue Hubbard or buttercup squash. Yield was highest in the Blue Hubbard and buttercup treatments, but this effect was not statistically significant. Native bees accounted for 87% of pollinator visits, and pollination did not limit yield. There was no evidence that border crops competed with the main crop for pollinators. Our results suggest that both buttercup squash and zucchini may be viable alternatives to Blue Hubbard as borders for the main crop of butternut squash. Thus, growers may have multiple border options that reduce pesticide use, effectively manage pests, and do not disturb mutualist interactions with pollinators.Environmental Entomology 02/2009; · 1.56 Impact Factor
Article: Buttercup Squash Provides a Marketable Alternative to Blue Hubbard as a Trap Crop for Control of Striped Cucumber Beetles (Coleoptera: Chrysomelidae)[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: Winter squash is a vital agricultural commodity worldwide. In the Northeastern United States, the primary insect pest is the striped cucumber beetle, Acalymma vittatum F. Using a Blue Hubbard squash (Cucurbita maxima Duchesne) perimeter trap crop system can reduce insecticide use by >90% in butternut squash (C. moschata Poir), the primary winter squash grown in this region. Despite the savings in insecticide costs, growers may be reluctant to give up field space for a perimeter crop of Blue Hubbard squash, which comprises only 5% of the winter squash market in New England as compared with 19% for buttercup squash. Finding a more marketable trap crop would lower the barrier for adoption of this system. We tested eight varieties of three species of cucurbits for attractiveness to beetles relative to Blue Hubbard and butternut squash, and chose buttercup squash as the most promising replacement. We compared the effect of a buttercup border, Blue Hubbard border, or control (no border) on beetle numbers, herbivory, insecticide use, pollination, and pollen limitation in the main crop. We found that buttercup squash performed equally well as Blue Hubbard as a trap crop, with 97% reduction in total insecticide use compared with control fields. Honey bees (Apis mellifera L.) and squash bees (Peponapis pruinosa Say) were the predominant pollinators, and border treatments did not affect visitation. Hand pollination did not increase reproduction or yield, indicating that natural pollination was sufficient for full yield. This study confirms the effectiveness of perimeter trap crop systems and offers growers a more marketable trap crop for managing cucumber beetle damage.Environmental Entomology 01/2011; · 1.56 Impact Factor